Here is an update (and some inspiration!) on how Kindness Yard Sale funds have been used recently:
This evening I was outside on the front porch, STILL trying to arrange left-over items from the Kindness Yard Sale (the task that never ends, but I enjoy). A man rolling a large duffle bag suitcase walked up. His had a huge smile on his face as he approached. He said he was here to thank me for the pantry. He had gotten food out of it before, he explained, took it across the street, sat down and had a meal. His gracious demeanor was so heartwarming. I asked if he would like some groceries and he said yes, and we discussed that he didn’t have much space to carry them between his backpack and his duffle bag. Also, that he didn’t have a can opener, so everything needed to be able to be opened without that.
With those things in mind, I rushed down to the pantry storage area and brought up a big basket of food for him to choose from:
Honey – nope! I got that out of the pantry the other day and I still have some!
Tuna with a flip top – YES PLEASE!
Granola bars – yes
Toothpaste – nope, I have dentures!
Foil pack of tuna – oh yes!
Cowboy Beans – oh no, those are too spicy I tried them once
Applesauce -no, that should go to a family with a baby
Can of soup with flip top – no, another family will need that more than me
And on and on we went through the items
I have had interactions with people experiencing homelessness at the pantry before, but here is where this one went different. The man, Christopher, asked if he could put some dollar bills under the labels of cans in the pantry.
This man doesn’t have a kitchen.
He doesn’t have a can opener.
But he wanted to share what he has with others.
The epitome of giving.
As he pulled out some one-dollar bills. I said “No, no, please save your money. But your idea of hiding bills in with the food is so fun! I will hide some money in there! Thank you for the idea!”
But Christopher said, “Now don’t say no to my blessings!!!!”.
So he, a street preacher, and I, a pantry shop keep, walked on over to the pantry. He figured out a good system to squeezing dollar bills in behind labels, leaving the money visible only under the can. We hope that the people who come for the food do not see the money until they get home. We giggled at the idea that someone might see ONE can with money, then rip all of the labels off the other cans hoping to find more!!
As we talked he preached of love and joy. He told me that many people in our country have physical houses, but are homeless because the houses are not filled with love. Now that’s the kind of church I can get behind.
|My new friend Christopher. I misunderstood his name the first time he said it and thought his name was Christian. He loved that and thought it was a huge compliment.|
Two other grocery related Kindness Activist things have happened this weekend.
Right after the story about the Kindness Yard Sale ran on the CBS Evening News on Friday, messages and friend requests started popping in from people I don’t know. One of the messages said this:
“Hello. I’m (___). Can you please help me with a few groceries for my family? Please. I recently lost my job due to the pandemic and I take care of my 80 year old mother as well. Anything will help and be greatly appreciated. I am still waiting on my unemployment, hopefully next week. All of this caught me completely off guard. Anything will help and be greatly appreciated. If not, I completely understand.”
I saw his message pop in and replied. We chatted a bit and I asked him where he lived. Within a half an hour, I had sent an electronic grocery gift card to a local store so that he could get some food. The next day he wrote back, “Just wanted to tell you we got groceries. Thank you again. God bless you. Mom says thank you.”
It wasn’t much, $75. But I was only able to meet him because the news did the story. I am so happy that the attention of the news ended up bringing him and his mother food for their bellies.
Kindness Activist funds spent - $75
And finally, a neighbor contacted me today to ask if I could use some SALMON for the Little Free Yellow Pantry. She had some frozen and wanted to donate it. We no longer have an extra refrigerator and freezer for the pantry, but salmon sounded like such a great donation that I told her to bring it on over and squished it into our personal freezer.
Well, about two hours later another neighbor contacted me and explained that she was low on food. Her car is broken, so transportation to the grocery store is difficult, and funds are low.
It is HARD to reach out and ask for help. And I was honored she was willing to be vulnerable and come to me. After checking on likes/dislikes, I loaded up 4 grocery bags from the storage area for the Little Free Yellow pantry, then ran to the grocery store to buy perishables. So, you guessed it, that salmon found a new home!!! A grateful home where it will be cooked with care and enjoyed!!
|These tasty groceries were added to the salmon and items from the Little Free Yellow Pantry|
The woman later posted a very gracious thank you in our local group:
“Just wanted to say I am very grateful for you and the food pantry. Got some groceries today because of it. So, if you have donated, I appreciate you very much. Miss Susan is the epitome of an amazing neighbor. She brought food to me within an hour of me messaging her today (cars been out of service for weeks now). I used to be embarrassed to let people see I need things sometimes...especially food. But I've come to terms that I need help sometimes and I shouldn't be ashamed of asking for help if I need it. I feel blessed to be able to live in this community. And for "My neighbors" not judging me. It makes me feel a little more open than i would be normally. I just feel like I wanna be an open book, cause I know I’m not the only person in life doing it alone and feeling like, ‘Damn - can I just catch a break?’ I appreciate you guys so much.”
Kindness funds spent - $67.90
So, I say –
To all who have donated food to the Little Free Yellow Pantry – thank you.
To those who donated items to sell at the Kindness Yard Sale – thank you.
To those who shopped at the sale – thank you.
And to those who donated funds – thank you.
Together, we are spreading kindness.
If you would like to contribute funds:
Venmo - @susan-thompson-gaines
PayPal – email@example.com
If you would like to contribute pantry items, we currently need:
Single servings of cereal
3 or 4 can openers